Guest Post: How Giving Your Work Away for Free Makes You Money – Marlayna Glynn Brown


I’m delighted to welcome Marlayna Glynn Brown to the blog today. Marlayna is the author of Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life and is here to share some useful advice about using KDP Select to giveaway free books in exchange for exposure.

How Giving Your Work Away for Free Makes You Money – Marlayna Glynn Brown

As I write this post, I’m clicking back and forth between this page and my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing page.  Why?  Because I’m watching precious versions of my memoir – which took me three years to write, edit and self-publish – fly out the proverbial Amazon door for FREE.

In the time it took me to type the above, forty versions of my blood, sweat and tears were downloaded to Kindles across the world.

But that’s not all I’m giving away.  Aside from a 48 hour promotional period on Kindle during which thousands of readers will download free versions of Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas, I am giving away free eBook versions on a couple of websites and blogs as well.

It’s close to costless to give away an eBook version (minus your invested wo/man-hours,) but I’ve also given away most of my first box of 25 printed versions of my memoir.  A few copies were sent to book reviewers in the United States, India and Australia.  A few copies are committed to a giveaway being held on Goodreads, on which I’ve offered two copies for free.   At last count over 160 people had signed up for the giveaway.  I also sent a few copies to people I thought were inclined to share the word to potential readers that my book was worth a read.

We’re living in an exciting time where the publishing world is evolving at a previously unknown rate of change.  In the past, a small percentage of hopeful authors were able to attract the attention of agents who then landed publishing deals on their behalf.  If an author couldn’t get an agent, there wasn’t much of a chance of landing a publishing contract.  Now anyone can publish a book thanks to Amazon, CreateSpace, AuthorHouse and other companies.  And from the looks of things, authors are self-publishing in gigantic droves.  This has increased competition for all authors – and created a need for authors to learn how to effectively self-promote their works.

Lacking the agent and publishing contract most of us don’t yet have, we need to be creative in how we get our work out to the general public to increase awareness of our talent.  We slather at the Amanda Hocking and Rebecca Wells success stories and work new ways to strategically place our books before the masses.  It’s been said that Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood wasn’t getting much attention until one book club recommended it to another book club.  From there the word spread – as women began telling other women to read the book.  As we now know, that particular method worked for Wells.  And it worked WELL – no pun intended, of course.

It’s a crucial step to consider your ideal reader and think of creative ways to get your work before the reader.  Does your reader belong to a book club?  Shop at an outdoor outfitting store?  Do needlepoint?  Take local classes at a community college?  Hunt?  Run marathons? After you’ve defined your ideal reader and considered the ways in which you can reach him and her, think of ways to get others in their networks to inform them of your work.  Create citizen readers, if you will.

One strategy is to strategically give your book away.  There are numerous ways to do so, including using Amazon’s free promotion tool and staging giveaways on Goodreads.  These steps are not targeted, and are more of a carpet bomber approach.  Combine this broad approach with more direct and targeted approaches.  Is your reader of college age? Send free books to the heads of a couple of large sororities or fraternities.  Is your reader an addict or affected by addiction in the family?  Contact helping organizations and local non profits and find ways to get your book in front of those who can recommend it to others.  You get the picture.

During the time it took me to type this post, nearly 700 copies of my book were downloaded.  While that is X amount of money I did not “make,” the potential for these new citizen readers to inform others is priceless.

About Overlay - A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas
What is it that makes one person’s life interesting to another? Could it be the reader’s perceived shared experiences with the writer? A profound thankfulness for not having shared such experiences? A desire to know about a life not personally lived? A well-crafted, mesmerizing and professionally written read? A story that evokes reader emotion – whether it be relief, anger, fear, sadness or joy? A desire to see a situation through to the end? Our shared universal desire for entropy, balance, peace and happy endings?

Author Marlayna Glynn Brown has crafted an extraordinary tale of survival and resilience in spare and convincing prose. Written from a child’s point of view from ages 4 to 17, this tale describes the precarious childhood of Marlayna in 1970s Las Vegas.

The desert perimeter serves as a hot, dry and dangerous barrier that shuts out the rest of the vibrant world and bleaches away any sense of the joy that colors childhoods. Born into an ongoing cycle of alcoholism, addiction and abandonment amidst fallen adults, Marlayna develops a powerful sense of self-preservation in contrast to the people entrusted with her care. Her story explores the personalities of the bizarre characters who populate her life as she moves from home to home, parent to parent, family to family and ultimately to homelessness at the age of fourteen. Out of the resources of her remarkable childhood emerges an inner strength that will charm and captivate readers and remain in their consciousness long after the last page of her story has been turned.

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About Marlayna Glynn Brown
Marlayna Glynn Brown is an author, screenwriter, actress, producer, poet, yogi and photographer. Marlayna was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and bases many of her unusual characters and unexpected story lines on true events.

Her first memoir, Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas, was published in March 2012 and is available in print and Kindle format. Her 2009 short film, People That do Something, is based upon a chapter from Overlay. Marlayna assists authors, photographers and artists with promotional representation.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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